Entries in Militant Groups (5)


Lull in US Drone Strikes Aiding Enemy in Pakistan

Stocktrek Images/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- Fewer U.S. drone strikes against enemy targets in Pakistan recently have allowed the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other extremists groups to become stronger and more dangerous.

There were close to 120 missile attacks by the CIA in 2010, according to website The Long War Journal, but that number shrunk in half last year, as the Obama administration bowed to pressure from Pakistan.  The White House and Pentagon do not comment directly on drone strikes.

The Pakistani government has repeatedly objected to the drone strikes, calling them a violation of their sovereignty.  For the past two months, the CIA has held off on these missile attacks because of an incident near the border with Afghanistan in November that left two dozen Pakistani soldiers dead.

Islamic militants have used this lull and the overall cutback in drone strikes in general to smooth over the differences of rival factions and regroup. The results have been more assaults on Pakistani security forces and greater threats against U.S. and Afghan troops next door.

Still, U.S. officials, while conceding that the CIA has conducted fewer drone strikes, maintain that they could resume in earnest at any time in order to exploit their enemies' complacency.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Militant Group Thanked for Lifting Ban on International Aid in Somalia

U.S. State Department(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- A group of international humanitarian agencies issued a joint press release Thursday essentially thanking Somalia's al Qaeda-backed militants for lifting a ban on international aid.

The statement says it "welcomes" al Shabbab's new stance but also wants guarantees that aid workers will be safe.

Southern Somalia, where al Shabab remains in control, is facing its worst drought in decades.  The combination of drought, rising food prices and violence has resulted in at least 1,300 people fleeing to neighboring Kenya daily. Aid groups like Save The Children say 30 to 50 percent of the children arriving are severely malnourished.  The United Nations says areas under the militant group's control are hosting almost 80 percent of the malnourished children.

In the past, aid agencies like the World Food Programme, have struggled with how to provide much-needed assistance to regions controlled by al Shabab without breaking U.S. anti-terrorism laws, which make it illegal to provide material or financial support to any group officially classified as a terrorist organization.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Courier's Cellphone Provides Clues to Bin Laden's Pakistan Ties

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New clues have reportedly surfaced regarding Osama bin Laden's ties with Pakistan that could help better explain how the al Qaeda leader managed to get away undetected in the country for years before being killed by Navy SEALs last month.

According to the New York Times, senior American officials say contacts to the militant group Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen -- a longtime asset of Pakistan’s intelligence agency -- were found on the cellphone that belonged to bin Laden's trusted courier.  The phone was recovered during the May 2 raid of bin Laden's Abbottabad compound, where both he and his courier were killed.

The officials told the Times that after analysts traced the calls made on the cellphone, they discovered that commanders of the militant group contacted Pakistani intelligence officials, and one even said they had met.

However, the officials noted that the communications between Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen and Pakistani intelligence officials did not necessarily revolve around bin Laden.

The militant group has since denied these claims and any links to bin Laden, according to the BBC.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pakistan: Eighteen Militants Killed in Drone Strike

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MIR ALI, Pakistan) -- Eighteen militants were killed in Pakistan on Monday in a suspected U.S. missile strike near the Afghan border.

The six-missile strike targeted two Toyota double-cabin vehicles leaving a Taliban compound. The trucks were apparently carrying ammunition.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


Afghanistan's Border Battle: Ground War In Pakistan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) -- Senior United States officials fear that despite billions of dollars and countless efforts trying to expand their relationship with Pakistan, a single successful terror attack launched from Pakistan could cause the relationship to fall apart -- and lead the United States to consider widening air strikes and even launching special operations raids inside Pakistan.

"If there's an attack traced back to Pakistan, all bets are off," says a senior Western official who insisted on anonymity.

United States, Afghan, and many Pakistani officials believe the key to fighting the war in Afghanistan is eliminating the sanctuaries the Taliban enjoy inside Pakistan.  But that is a complex, long-term effort, and U.S. officials are becoming increasingly impatient.  That, in turn, is straining an already tense relationship with Pakistan, officials in both countries acknowledge.

"There have been compulsions on the [U.S.] military brass in Kabul and consequently, pressure on the Pakistani military, and that hasn't suited us at all," a senior Pakistani military official told ABC News.  He accused the U.S. of "passing the buck" and making the Pakistani military "the scapegoat."

The tension is most strained over the semiautonomous tribal area of North Waziristan along the Afghanistan border.  Residents of North Waziristan interviewed for this article describe an increasingly lawless area where, as one of them put it, "every nationality under the sun" is represented in a sort of melting pot of militant groups.

United States officials believe the leaders of the Haqqani militant network, based out of North Waziristan and long a threat to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, is increasingly becoming international in nature, providing safe havens to militant groups, including al-Qaeda, that want to attack Western targets.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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